Taylor Swift previewed her newest promotional song “State of Grace” on Good Morning America yesterday (October 15), and now the full song has been premiered. Marking the fourth song in the Red countdown, “State of Grace” indicates that Swift may have been saving the best for last: It’s a stunner, airy and diffuse, that combines the pop finery of her lead single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” with unmistakably Swift-y notes of wistful longing.
So far, it feels like the most mature and sophisticated effort from the Red sessions, and there’s no mystery why she chose it to open the album, since it’s an effective encapsulation of how she’s evolving as an artist. Listen to the song after the jump.
In the GMA preview, “State of Grace” sounded appealingly fuzzy and lo-fi; here, the instrumentation is more refined but still has a lovely, hazy luster, evoking The Cranberries‘ ’90s single “Dreams.” The chorus — “And I never saw you coming / And I’ll never be the same” — is elegant in its simplicity, as it gives way to layers of “Oh-oh-oh”s and verse lyrics that are meditative but hopeful. “This is the golden age of something good / And real and right,” she sings on the bridge.
“I wrote this song about when you first fall in love with someone — the possibilities, kind of thinking about the different ways that it could go” Swift explained when previewing the song. ”It’s a really big sound. To me, this sounds like the feeling of falling in love in an epic way.” The song does have a more sweeping scale than the tight, lean melodies that have defined the Red era, but it’s worth noting that Swift is the only writer credited here, whereas the melodic sharpness of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.” were the likely product of teaming up with Max Martin and Shellback. Those songs pointed in a more mainstream pop direction, but “State of Grace” is much dreamier. That effect works well here, even if it’s a stark contrast to her lead single.
Red is shaping up to be chaotic, contradictory and totally unfocused — and probably her strongest album to date. Listen to “State of Grace” below.
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